Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Major whining to follow

By 8:30 today, I was highly annoyed and in a bad mood. The morning was not psychotic, but it wasn't going smoothly. This is spirit week at school, and today is 80's day. This is not a good idea for elementary kids, they don't get the 80's!! Or appreciate it. I pinned the kids pants, the girls both wore my jackets, a letter jacket and a tennis jacket I have from high school (class of 87!!). They looked fine. But Hezekiah didn't like the shirt I picked out for him. I told him to wear any shirt. He got really moody and sulky. Couldn't get him out of it.

As I was making eggs, Raven, the 16 year old I mentor, called me as she had missed the bus. My kids were fighting in the background, I told her to figure something out and that if she was being irresponsible, she needed to find a way to school and said goodbye. I have a meeting with her today at 12:45 and with her school counselor to talk about her grades and credits. Shortly after this call, I realized it was about time for my kids to get their snow gear to head for the bus and Hezekiah still wasn't dressed. I yelled at him to get a shirt on and started yelling at everyone. Then I gave up and said I would drive them to school. I called Raven and said I would give her a ride to school too and to get ready as we were leaving shortly.

The kids were getting their coats and stuff on so I went out to start the van and brush the snow off. Akila was dinging around with the stupid fake nails she was now wearing on her finger nails. I told her to stop it and take them off as she can't wear them to school (she did yesterday as I wasn't on top of it and didn't notice). I finished brushing the snow off the car and the kids weren't coming. I went in to get them and Akila was dinging around with gluing on a nail again. I lost it.

The other 3 kids went out to get in the car, and I tried to get Akila to put the one finger nail down that she was trying to glue on. We ended up in a chase around the dining room table. I thought I was going to blow out a vein I was yelling so much. Michael was up in the bathroom and I yelled up to him to get down if he wasn't in the shower yet. He was in the shower and didn't come. I chased her around the table for several minutes, finally got her, ripped all the fingernails off her and threw them on the floor and dragged her out to the car. It was a proud moment.

When I got outside, with Akila in tow, the other kids are standing outside of the van. The dumb van doors haven't been opening in the cold weather and they have to go in the front door or the back door and climb over seats and get them all messed up. They hadn't figured out to just climb in and were standing there freezing. Got them, and Akila wouldn't buckle and I couldn't reach her since the dumb doors wouldn't open. So I yelled again. She yelled back, which is normal. Except this time, she did something I knew was going to happen soon. She called me a "stupid F-ing mom".

So I of course yelled some more. I told her I would be throwing all the finger/toe nails away today, and that she would be in big trouble when she got home. We then drove to Raven's. Although she now lives in a different place as her mom evidently left and moved to Chicago a little over a week ago. So she is now staying with some random person and sleeping on their floor. Another story that is sad. She wasn't ready when I got there, although I had clearly told her to be ready. So she got yelled at too.

Got the kids dropped off, drove home, picked up Michael and drove up to Brooklyn Center to pick up his car that was stolen and has been gone for 3 weeks. It has taken nearly two weeks to get it fixed. I think our insurance is only going to cover the rental car for the first two weeks, even though it took longer because they wanted a steering column from the junk yard instead of a new one, and it took 5 days to be delivered to the station. And then it doesn't match the right color, and Honda had to order a new cover or something that took 4 more days to come in.

So, the car is finally done. We paid for it, the lady walkie talkied the guy twice. He then said they had to charge the battery and it would take a few minutes longer. It is a new battery. What???????????!!!!!!!! I go outside to wait in the rental car. Micheal finally comes out and says they broke the car and are giving him a loaner. The guy said he broke the handle inside the car that releases the hood. But I wonder if it wasn't something more. So we still don't have our car back.

I was planning on getting stuff done between 8:00 when the kids leave on the bus, and 12:00 when I leave for the meeting with Raven and her counselor. I got home at 10:30, took a shower, and came here to vent. Michael thinks Akila shouldn't get to go to dance tonight for swearing. I said it wasn't fair to punish me and the other kids. Ha. I don't think it would be a good idea for Akila to be home tonight. Not after last night and this morning. Not when I am in the mood I am. Pray that the ride to dance is calm. Pray that I don't yell. Pray that Akila doesn't use the F word. Pray. I am.

(I don't have time to proof or re-read this, excuse me if it doesn't make sense)

Update: 2:45 pm. I got back a little while ago from meeting with Raven and her counselor. I saw Akila and she was sweet as pie to me and seems to have forgotten our rotten morning. I am going to do the same. :) I have asked the neighbor boy to watch the three of my kids while I drive Akila to dance, which will make the drive much more tolerable. A funny thing also; when I got home after the car adventure, there was a voicemail and caller ID showed that the school had called. I was sure I was going to have to go get a sick or something fun like that. It was the nurse's office on the voicemail. My heart slowed down. She just wanted to let me know they were running low on Akila's meds. Whhheeeewwwww.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nails




I know that I have written several times about Angie and all the time she spends with Akila. Typically, she takes Akila out every other week. Last night, was the third day in a row with Akila. Wow. Saturday and Sunday, she was helping with all 4 kids, last night she brought Akila to a movie and dinner.

On Sunday, Akila was pretty snotty and rude with Angie, last night she was great. Angie brought her to the dollar store and let her pick out two things. Of course, Akila came home with fake nails, but they were fake toe nails. Angie said she tried to steer her to other areas, but I know how Akila works. I also knew there would be no sleep until these dumb things were on her toes. Even when I explained that she couldn't wear them to school because they wouldn't stay on with shoes. None of this matters to her FASD brain, she just can't comprehend what I was saying, nor does she have the patience to wait.

The nails were not stick ons, and they did not come with glue. So Akila found the glue stick. She has used this with fake finger nails in the past with some success. It obviously didn't work. So she got the Elmer's glue. We worked on them for about 15 minutes, and then I got her to bed. She didn't get her Melatonin until after 8 pm when she got home, so it would be awhile before it kicked in to help her fall asleep.

She walked up to bed on her heels. I had to get a pillow for her feet. I also had to carefully put her blanket on her without touching her feet which usually have to be tucked in. She was so concerned of the toe nails falling off, that she actually stayed in bed, didn't move, and fell asleep fairly shortly after that.

Here are a couple of pictures of her, and her lovely toe nails.

So I thought we were doing pretty well, she fell asleep; until 4 am. She woke up at 4 am, probably to go to the bathroom, or just had a moment of wakefulness. She remembered the exciting stupid nails on her toes, most of them were probably off and on the bed, so she got up. For the rest of the day. So did I pretty much since about every 20 minutes she was bugging me about something or other.

She woke up the other 3 kids by 6:15, they usually get up at 7:15. What is amazing about her early morning events, is that she is always in a very good mood. She was very cooperative and agreeable. I guess I should wake her every day between 4 and 5 am. NOT.

Tonight was an interesting evening. She was wired, loud and obnoxious. It was like she was on speed or some kind of drug. She wouldn't stop talking, made loud and annoying noises when she wasn't talking, and was just wacky. I walked in the dining room and watched her looking in a mirror and making loud noises. She realized for the first time that she could see the thingie in the back of your throat moving when she was being loud. She was fascinated. All evening. Check out this video (if it works, it is my first time trying a video).




If this video works, I will try to put another one on someday soon. Akila got ahold of the camera and was videotaping herself while I made dinner. Several very interesting clips.

P.S. I know that in the top picture, the wallpaper is still not removed in Akila's room. UGH!!! Did I mention that when we bought this house, every inch of the house but one bedroom was wallpaper, even hallways. The bathroom remodel is almost finished and then I will start on Akila's wallpaper. Or should I say, I will finish it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Catching Up

I got a funny call last Wednesday while Akila was at dance class. The teacher called me to say that Akila was having a hard time with her Asthma and needed her inhaler right away. Being the sensitive mom that I am, I started to laugh hysterically. I told the teacher that Akila doesn't have Asthma, to tell her to resume dancing, and that I would see her in an hour. I thought this was so funny. She has told several people this over the last week or so. My assumption is that some student in her class has been having to use his or her inhaler and Akila has noticed the attention they have received. Nice. Like she doesn't have enough medical challenges already.

Our children go to Children's Clinic in Minneapolis for all of their medical needs. We have a Pediatrician I absolutely love, Dr. Paula Mackey. She invited me to be on a committee last month that is called something like a Medical Home team or something like that. It is a state funded program that is working with clinics to help them to better serve families with special needs kids. I have been to two meetings and they are really interesting.

The teams from the different clinics from around the state, are suppose to come up with little ideas to improve their care, put them into action, research the results, and report them at the conferences so all the teams can hear how it worked. The project my clinic started (before I was on the team), is to send dictated notes to special needs families after a visit to the Dr., so we would have a very detailed summary of the appt and all that was talked about. What a great idea, Akila hasn't had an appt. since they started this, but it is a great idea.

I talked about having some kind of way of giving the front desk staff info to give the nurse and/or Dr. before they call you back. Like info that I don't want them to say the word shot or injection during the appt. (for the opposite reason that most would need this info relayed, Akila throws rages if she is not going to get a shot); or that I would prefer that they not bring us into the exam room until they are ready for us, as keeping Akila's hands off all the instruments and stuff, is not fun. It is much easier to wait in the waiting room where there is a better variety of toys and nothing to keep her out of. Some families with special needs kids, need to get them into the exam room right away because of immune problems and all the germs and stuff.

Anyway, we are working on ways to improve these kind of issues for families. The majority of other parents on the team, mainly have kids with medical needs, and not behavioral issues like we struggle with. I get to go to a conference in January with all of the clinics, and I am looking forward to it. I also get paid for my time at meetings and conferences, which is a great bonus. It is nice to be at a clinic where they care and are trying to make things easier for families. I love Children's Hospitals and Clinics!!

We had a great weekend, in great part thanks to Angie and Emily. Michael and I had tickets to the Guthrie to see Shadowlands on Saturday night, and the two of them babysat (Emily's husband Jesse came for part of the night as well). Then on Sunday afternoon, Emily and Angie took the kids to the Bell Museum and swimming at the Y for several hours so Michael and I could get some Christmas shopping done. When they brought them home, they brought pizzas. These ladies are a huge blessing to our family. My kids were totally wiped out last night, put them all to bed by 7:30 and did not hear a word from any of them. It was beautiful!!! Thanks Angie and Emily!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Police

Our neighborhood is under siege. Our car was stolen two weeks ago(yes, the same Honda Civic that was stolen a year ago) and turned up last week, about 14 blocks away from our house. It is currently at the garage getting a new steering column put in. Yesterday, our next door neighbor, Grandma Kathy, had her house burglarized- big time.

She called us around 7 pm and said it seemed like her house had been trashed. I teased her that she thought I had been over there with my kids (I have been washing her windows for the last several weeks and go over there during the day sometimes). I went over there right away and she called the police. Her house had been totally ransacked. They had taken all of her kitchen drawers out and dumped them on the floor, and they did the same in her bedroom. You couldn't even walk. They stole her brand new Imac computer, some jewelry and other random things. And made a huge mess.

The police who responded were very nice and were at her house for quite awhile. We had to wait for the crime scene staff to come to do fingerprinting, so it took a long time. We ended up having a lot of time to shoot the breeze with the two officers. And somehow, FASD came up. Ha. My friend Juli gets sick of me talking about it with everybody, but I don't care. I had a captured audience, and we had a good conversation.

It was evident to me that they knew little to nothing about FASD. I told the office that in a few years, they would more than likely get to know our family well. As I told him about Akila, and FASD behaviors, he asked what I would do, how to deal with it. We had a really good conversation. He seemed kind of blown away.

Back to our neighborhood. A lady at the end of our block was burglarized at the end of last week, and she had some kind of expensive jewelery and lost about $35,000 worth of stuff. Holy cow. The police told me there had been 3 similar incidents on the block behind us, and a house one block away was broken into yesterday but the thieves ran when the alarm went off. All of this is happening during the day. I was gone yesterday for a few hours visiting one of my old students who had a baby, and this must be when Kathy's house was hit.

Today, I had to bring Hezekiah and Zeke to the Dr. and I was paranoid to leave my house. I wanted to hide our laptop, but the thieves at Kathy's house went through everything. They went under her mattresses, moved furniture away from walls, pulled drawers out , went through her basement. Before I left, I hid our laptop in the bottom of a basked full of dirty laundry. Hope the thieves aren't reading my blog.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Opposites

I was just reading Torina's blog and she made me think of something I have wanted to write about. Akila also has Oppositional Defiant Disorder and we have found that one of the most successful ways to get her to do something, is by asking or telling her to do the opposite. This can sometimes work with any kid, but it can often work really well with a child like Akila.

For example, every school morning, Akila gets ready in our bedroom and watches a little TV. Just to keep her separate from the other kids and to keep her calm. I bring up her meds to her in a little cup with some water, set it down by her, and tell her that she needs to wait and take it after I make my bed. I then make my bed, watching her out of the eyes in the back of my head. She takes the meds every time, and then when I'm done, I yell at her to hurry up and take it. I then am "surprised" to discover that she has taken it already.

You would think this would wear off, but it has worked all year, nearly every day. FASD brains are amazing. On most days, I will go downstairs and yell up to her that when I come up next, I will want her to get dressed. This then makes her motivated to get dressed right away so I will be surprised when I come up. And it is more effective if as I am walking up the stairs, I am coarsely warning her that I need her to get dressed right away. And once again, i am so surprised when I come into my room.

I feel like it is when they are babies, and at some point, you get really sick of playing peek-a-boo, but they could play it forever, long after you're bored with it. That is how I feel. Yet, I love it, because I love the end result. No power struggles, and a fairly calm morning. That is my goal. A calm morning. They have been going pretty well this school year, and for that, I am very thankful.

30 Minutes

Last night was dance. The kids get home from school at 3:35 and try to leave by 4:00 for dance, which is about a 25 minute drive. Akila got her dance clothes on and I was getting snacks ready for the ride. I even had Cheetos, which I have refused to purchase for a long time due to prior issues. Each week before dance, Akila wants to stop at a gas station and buy Cheetos, or some kind of treat. I think we did this once, my mistake!!! So needless to say, we often have a major rage over this.

Yesterday, she came downstairs with her dance clothes on and two quarters that Michael had given her this weekend for shoveling. She shoveled without being asked to and did a great job. Well she wanted to stop at the gas station to buy something. I told her no, I had Cheetos, we didn't need to, didn't have enough time, it wasn't enough to even buy anything anyway. Well, this didn't matter. Major meltdown. Major.

She wouldn't leave the house and get in the car. I had a brief moment of thinking we would just skip dance then. It was brief. Dance is for 3 hours, and she does really well once she is there. It is the getting her there that is the problem. We have a dance studio about 8 blocks from our house in Minneapolis, but we drive to Bloomington for free dance since I work part-time at the studio.

I finally got her in the van, she was sobbing and raging. Often, this will just last the first 5 or 10 minutes, which doesn't sound long. But trust me, it is. Yesterday, it lasted the entire drive, which took about 30 minutes. She threw everything at me that was in range, and swung her teddy bear up to hit me while I was driving. I had to pull off the highway and wait a bit until she could calm down. The entire drive, I just prayed, tried to stay calm (which I failed at a few times), and kept telling myself that I would have a 3 hour break if I could just get her there).

I of course ended up having to take the money away from her. I told her multiple times that if she could not calm down that I would have to take the money from her and not give it back. I called Michael while I was driving so he could hear her, and told him to never pay her again for anything. My friend Juli, her dance teacher, called while we were driving, and she said "For gosh sakes, just stop at the gas station". I did not. I wanted to.

Akila was saying that she was going to leave the dance studio and go to the gas station a block away or so. Thankfully, when we got to dance, she heard it was "splits" day. This is when those who can now do the splits, get a candy bar. She turned into little miss sweetie pie at this point. Told me she loved me, hugged me, she poured on the sweetness. This is after 30 minutes of sheer terror in which she called me every name in the book, told me she hated me, told me daddy is good and better than me, and a whole host of other things. I smiled, kissed her and told her I loved her too. I do love her. But this is so hard to show when I'm so annoyed!!!!!

When the kids and I rode home, it was a nice peaceful ride, Hezekiah even commented on how quiet it was.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Church

We went to church on Saturday night, at Bethlehem Baptist where we use to belong. Akila was begging to go to the church where she was dedicated so decided to give it a try. There is no children's church during the service, so the kids stay with us the entire 1 1/2 hours. In the past, this has not worked well with Akila. To be honest, we were nervous.

It went pretty well. For some reason, Akila was very obsessed with Pastor Piper, which man he was, where he was sitting, what he was going to say, etc. After the service, she went up front to see what was going on. They invite people up to be prayed with, or to speak with a Pastor or elder. Akila wanted to talk to Pastor Piper and I couldn't talk her out of it. There was a long line. Pastor Kenny was also up front and I told Akila how when she was a baby, we went to his house all the time for small group. She decided she wanted to talk with him.

She was telling him how she has Turner Syndrome, has a growth problem, had her eyes dilated (which was more than 6 months ago), and she would have went on and on if I had let her. It was nice to talk with Kenny. We then left and went to Perkins where kids eat free on Saturday nights, and everyone was hungry!

Shortly after we arrived, we realized what a bad idea it was. Akila was in overdrive, as hyper as I have seen her in a long time; and she knew it. She couldn't sit still, wanted to be up and dancing around, was being very loud. And then something put her over the edge. She saw that at a table not too far from us, Pastor Piper was there and eating dinner with some other church members. You would have thought the Jonah's Brothers were in the restaurant. She went nuts. She wanted to go talk to him, she couldn't believe he was there, and she kept on repeating that over and over and over.

I took her for a walk, tried to distract her until the food finally came. The food came, she ate a bit, and Michael couldn't stand it anymore and brought her out to the car. The other kids and I finished up quickly and we left. Michael and I realized that we had made a dumb choice in going out to eat. Akila had gotten up early, at 4:30 in the morning, and had awakened Imani as well. I think she just couldn't hold it together anymore. I am just thankful that she made it through church. I pray that I make it through the 5 day weekend we are approaching. It is sure to be a long one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pondering

I have been a bad blogger lately. Too much to do, too little time. We are in the midst of getting our bathroom remodeled, and it has been a zoo. Should be done by end of Monday, I pray. I can't tell you how sick of taking baths I am. Enough on that.

Akila was on edge this past weekend, and it wasn't' fun. Sunday was Zeke's birthday, my baby turned 6 and boy was he excited! He got to choose where we went for lunch and he chose Godfathers. Akila was not pleased with this choice and she made it known. It is about a 10 or 15 minute drive, and I think she honestly called me a "stupid freakin woman" between 6-7 times in the car. This was after I had heard it many times in the morning (by the end of the day, it was no less than 40 times). Michael was of course, a "stupid freakin man". I dread the day when freakin changes to the other f word choice, and I don't mean frickin. I was driving, and she also took her very heavy purse she had brought with, and hit me on the shoulder pretty hard. It is so hard to not blow up when she is like this. Maybe that is why I usually do blow up.

Michael and I had a brief conversation about our families future. I know that Kari has blogged about this in the past, but it is really hard to think about the fact that my daughter may not always be able to live with us. Am I giving up? No. Am I being pessimistic? No. I am trying to be realistic. Akila's violence and anger can be really scary sometimes.

Last week, one night at dinner, Akila was focusing her anger on Imani, for absolutely no reason. She sits across from Imani and she literally started to climb up on the table to try to hit Imani. We calmed her down, and were trying to re-focus her. She was yelling at Imani that she was going to hit her at school, and she kept on doing the threatening posture of holding one hand flat and hitting it with the other hand in a fist. Imani thankfully was ignoring her. I got her to stop finally and move on. But a few minutes later, I realized that Akila was staring intently at Imani, and it was in a very intimidating manner. And my husband wonders why I have no problem with Akila taking her plate to the family room to eat.

I love Akila to no end. I honestly feel blessed that the Lord brought her into our lives. I really do, even though the stress is immense!!! The stress is more than any of you without a child like this could ever imagine. The stress has given me two migraines in the past 4 weeks, to the point where I get to go to "Headache School" in December (for real). Fun. But I honestly don't think the Lord would have created our family like this for no reason. I believe that He did it to draw me closer to Him. To show me that I am not in control (which I have a hard time accepting-ask Michael). To show me that I need Him more than anything else. To show I am judgemental. To show me that I am a huge sinner in need of His mercy.

As I look to our future, I see enormous challenges. I see rages. I see violence. I see experimental drug and alcohol use. I see huge school challenges. I see the police. I see raising grandchildren. But I also see God. I see Him in Akila every day. And I see Him in my own weaknesses. I see Him. I hear Him. And I need to listen to Him more. And I need to thank Him more. I am truly blessed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Giving

I went to school today to have lunch with the 16 year old girl I mentor. Akila's lunch is right before the high school lunch and I was a little early. I went in to say hi to Akila, and I saw something interesting as I was walking up behind her. She was pulling a twenty dollar bill out of her pocket and about to give it away.

I pulled her aside and asked her where she got it. She said she found it outside. That is her patent answer for everything she has that she should not have. As I was pushing her on it, a kid from her class came over to me and gave me a twenty that Akila had given her. Then another one did, and told me that Akila had been handing out twenties to a bunch of kids. WHAT???!!!!! You can't imagine what was going through my mind and how furious I was getting. As I was talking to Akila about it, several other kids were bringing twenties to me.

Her teacher came in and I told her what was going on and she pressed Akila about it, as Akila had lied to her before lunch and said she only gave a twenty to one kid. The teacher had told her in the morning that she didn't want Akila to think that she needed to give money to kids to be liked or have friends. Akila just stared all glossy eyed, she gets a very "disconnected" look when being pressed on theft. The teacher and class left, and after several threats from me, Akila finally told me that she got it from by the computer (this is after 3 or 4 lies, like I found it in the toothpaste drawer-ha).

Then I remembered that late last night, I was doing some bookkeeping for the dance studio, and had a cash payment from a family. The money that the kids turned into me was exactly the amount of the cash payment, as I know that I don't have any personal cash in the house. I have been trying to get my friend, Juli who owns the dance studio, to fire me for quite some time. Maybe this will do the trick.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Child's view

Morning meds are usually not fun. Akila likes to pretend that it hurts to take them or she makes up some reason to fuss about taking them. She takes several pills in the morning, one which is for her Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome. I usually put the pills in a miniature bowl.

Several times, she has freaked out about this bowl saying that it has bugs in it. I have assured her that it doesn't. I have washed it in front of her, gotten a new bowl, tried several things, but she keeps freaking out about this. The other day, when she was freaking out about the bugs in the bowl, I see her looking up at beneath the kitchen cabinet. I bend my head down to her height and see a few cob webs, a lot of dust, and a bug or two in the webs, on the bottom of my kitchen cabinets. Here is a picture:
I should note, the wall paper which is beige, has a cob web pattern on it. Those are not cob webs, I am not that bad. Or maybe I am.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Other halloween fun

The kids didn't have school on halloween, good for the teachers, not the mom. We had an appt. to go to the VA hospital to participate in a brain research project for FASD kids. They also wanted "normal" brains of anyone over 8 years old. So Imani, Akila and myself were going to participate. There was lots of paperwork first, and the girls had to sign their names and date each paper by themselves. It took quite awhile. The boys colored.

Then, they brought us back for the brain imaging. It was in a sealed room and I could sit in it with each girl while they laid on the table. Akila went first and she did great. They talked to her through an intercom. When her turn was over, Imani went next. As Akila left the room, she was intrigued with the intercom and wanted to see it. She watched as they did Imani's test (I assume, since I was in the sealed room and could see anything), and at the end of Imani's test, she said good job over the intercom. Then it was my turn.

As the lady was getting me set up, Akila was out of the room using the intercom in a very obnoxious fashion. The lady told her to stop, as did I. She did not listen. I couldn't help but try not to laugh. I apologized to the lady, more for what she would be dealing with while they were scanning my brain. I could faintly hear Akila the whole time, and it was funny. A different mom may have been annoyed and mortified at her behavior, I wasn't. I just kept thinking to myself that if they are doing a research on FASD, they should expect some odd behaviors. Although, I was quite glad to leave when we were finished.

When we were done, it was about 3:30 and I didn't want to go home and listen to the "is it time to trick or treat" yet junk. So we randomly popped in on a friend who lives close to the VA who has young kids as well, but we haven't been around them for about 5 years. We played outside with them for awhile, and eventually, Akila was riding her son's bike around. When it was time to go, Akila wouldn't come back on the bike, she was at the end of the block. My friend went to retrieve her, she has worked with kids and knew she would have an easier time than I at retrieving her.

Akila started to ride the bike back to our van in front of their house. She decided to ride between the van and the curb. She evidently couldn't figure out the hand brakes on the bike and came in full boar. I happened to have the passenger door open, and yes, she hit it head on at full speed. And once again, I was a bad mom. I knew immediately that she was not significantly hurt, and I started to laugh hysterically. Not the best reaction. But, it was hilarious looking, she hit it so hard. And she was completely dazed, because she was so shocked, not hurt. And this was great because she just got in the van and buckled up. I think she thought she was in trouble. But mommy couldn't stop laughing. My friend, Cristine, didn't even see it happen as she was still walking back. I did feel horrible when I realized that Gabrielle, her son and owner of the bike, was upset and walked away as it looked like she had damaged his bike. The handle bars bent, but went right back into place, thankfully!!!!

I could not stop laughing the whole way home and the kids were all yelling at me to post this on the blog. They are figuring the blog out right now. They wanted to see it this weekend, but I couldn't let them see it because of the tooth fairy post, I don't want to give away any secrets. Sorry if I ruined the tooth fairy for any of you, don't do any back reading on my blog or you may learn some things about Santa that may sadden you as well.

Post halloween candy game

Halloween went pretty well at our house, no major meltdowns, and the kids were all in bed just after 9 pm. We had a few issues over the weekend over fighting about candy. Normally, the next day I dump all their haul into one bowl and it is everyone's candy. Akila was being particularly protective of her candy so I was going to wait until the weekend ended. The other kids gave her a ton of their candy that they didn't really like.

Saturday and Sunday were full of neighborhood conflict. The big brother of some neighborhood girls was over for the weekend, he comes around once a month or so. He is probably 11 or so and he is not good news. He usually conflicts with Akila as he isn't around her enough to know to just put up with her junk, which is what most of the neighborhood kids do. But if he sees Akila show any kind of attitude towards one of his sisters, he goes into bully mode. So there was lots of conflict, and some of it was between him and me. Fun.

I basically had to tell them all to go to their end of the block and to stay down there. He didn't like this. I told him to get his dad (who is kind of scary seeming), and we would work it out. He just stared at me and eventually trotted off down the block. I was quite glad he didn't get his dad, I thought he might call my bluff.

The great thing, is that by Sunday evening they were back to our side and everyone was playing nicely. Akila is a matter of fact, in love with the brother and they are going to get married. Excellent. He is exactly the type I will always want her to stay away from and exactly the type she will always be attracted to. But Akila thought of a great game to do with her halloween candy.

She brought out her huge bowl of candy, and would take an item and throw it high in the air and who ever got it, could keep it. It was great, not too long after it started, all of our halloween candy (except for the good stuff I had already swiped from the bowl and hidden for myself), was gone. We hardly have any candy left. I am totally fine with that.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tooth Fairy Cover Up

Hezekiah lost his second tooth two nights ago. It all happened too late, we called the tooth fairy that night, but she wasn't able to make it on such late notice. He wasn't too upset, they have all had this happen. Sometimes, she doesn't make it because we live in a rough neighborhood, and she couldn't make it.

The weirdest part about losing a tooth in our house, is that the kids know not to let Akila know. You all know the excitement that occurs when a tooth comes out. The kids use to want to call Grandma, the National Guard and alert the media. They have learned to only exhibit their excitement when she is in the other side of the house, and make their phone calls in secret. The reason; Akila steals their teeth from under their pillow before the tooth fairy comes sometimes. This is especially devastating on a night when the tooth fairy is not able to make it to our house, and they wake up to no tooth and no money. So they have learned not to let on to Akila that they have lost a tooth.

It is interesting watching the kids with Akila. There are certain things like the tooth thing, that they have learned very well how to deal with her on. Then there are all the other things I wish they would learn. Like to just ignore her when she rolls her eyes at them, or says something snotty. I have been trying to teach them not to engage with her, as she is looking for a fight. Interesting. I don't know why they can't learn this concept. I have done so well at it myself. NOT!!!

I must say, that Akila has had an exceptional month, and I don't think I have ever been able to say that. She has had good days, and even good weeks, but never such a long stretch. That is not to say that we haven't had our rages and battles, we have. But nothing too over the top. Last night we had a pretty good rage. Michael was working late and I was labeled evil mom and told that she hated me and lots of other horrid things. While she was in her room trying to calm down, she brought the phone with her and called dad. He was on his way home so she left him a message. I walked upstairs and heard her going on and on about how awful I was and how much she missed him and loved him. Sadly, I found it to be hilarious.

This really doesn't phase me anymore. About 6 months ago, Michael was shocked to learn that she does that, talks about how much she misses him and hates me. She does this when I'm gone and Michael is in charge. She does it to whomever had just made her mad and said the dreaded "no" to her.

Today is Halloween, and there is no school. Can't say I'm super happy about that, but I'm sure the teachers are relieved. We had an interesting start to the day, with losing electricity. When this happens, it tests my patience in a whole new way. Akila doesn't lose it and rage, she loses it and goes manic. Talking non-stop, running around the house trying every thing electrical or battery powered, reporting what works and what doesn't. It took all of 5 minutes before I called the power company. They had a truck out and we got our power back in an hour. If any of them had a kid like Akila, they would have been out faster and had it on in a half hour. If we ever get hit by a storm and lose powers for days, I'm pretty sure we would have to go to a hotel, or at least I would.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma Kathy!!

Today is Grandma Kathy's birthday. I have written before of our next door neighbor Kathy, who is like a mom to me, and a grandma to our kids. She has been working with each of my kids for months and teaching them how to sew, and they have each sewn a quilt with her. She sent them off to a lady to put them together and do the stitching, but the kids with Kathy's assistance sewed all the pieces together, and cut them. I don't know all the technical words for quilting, but they are amazing. She chose fabric that matched their personalities or interests. Here are some pictures.


Hezekiah's quilt, above, has dinosaurs on it. Below, Akila's quilt has flip flops on it, and she is the fashion queen who is obsessed with shoes. Perfect fit!

The picture above, has one side of Zeke's quilt, which has frogs on it, which he loves. He also loves the Hungry Caterpillar book, which is what is on the other side, below.



Imani loves purple, and rainbows. Hers is a perfect fit as well!

Yes, I know, I still haven't gotten the wallpaper off in Akila's room, as evidenced in the picture below. The bathroom remodeling has gotten in the way. But isn't her quilt adorable? It will help to pick out colors for the walls.



Below, you can see them each holding a cute little photo album that Kathy made for them. She put the fabric from their quilts in them as the cover, and put pictures of the process inside the albums.


I feel so blessed. I had a great mom for the first 36 years of my life, and the Lord has blessed me with Kathy as well, who is like a mom to me. She is a retired special ed teacher (although she is always working still!), and is fabulous with my kids, and not at all judgemental about our challenges with Akila. Thanks Kathy, have a wonderful birthday. Know that you are loved dearly by our entire family. The kids were so excited on Saturday when she presented them with their finished quilts, and the photo albums. Zeke said that it was the best day of his life. And he was very proud yesterday morning that he had not peed on his quilt. Cute!!

OOPS- I forgot to mention that the kids also sewed matching pillow cases with Kathy. They really add a lot!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hairy arm pits

God help me. Akila just came running to me freaking out, with excitement, saying that she is growing hair in her arm pits. She really is. I am not ready for her to go through puberty, ever. She is quite excited, and I can guarantee, that she will show everyone at school on Monday, and all the neighbors; despite all the conversations we will have about private things. Siiiggghh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Should have posted 6 hours ago

Five or six hours ago, I was so pleased. The sleepover went well last night, and today went very well as well. My neighbor friend, DeDe, called me this morning. She is sick and was heading to the Dr., wondered if I could watch her 4 kids. I did hesitate for a minute, and then said what the heck, what's four more? They came just before 11. I fed lunch to 10 kids. It went amazingly well.

Imani's friend, Izzy, arrived around 3:00. Akila had been great all day, with only a few little issues. Imani, Izzy, Akila and Olivia (DeDe's daughter), all played beautifully together for a few hours. It was really fun to watch. It is quite rare that Akila can interact with other kids this well, especially if Imani is in the group. Imani is the sweetest, nicest girl, who shares and is very giving. But Akila is so jealous and has a hard time with it.

DeDe's kids left around 5:30, Noah, Hezekiah's friend left at the same time. I only had to feed 6 kids dinner, and we ordered pizza. We decided my nephew would stay one more night, he is a really sweet and easy boy. I like that combination. Akila's friend Abbey couldn't get here until 8:00, after a soccer game. The four girls played nicely together for over an hour, and then we hit meltdown stage, BIG TIME!!!

I had just put a movie in for them to wind down to, brought the boys upstairs to wind down and go to bed, and Akila could no longer keep it together. Michael and I tried every creative thing to help her keep it together, but it was too late. We spent an hour and a half in her bedroom with her while she raged. She became destructive, trying to break her bed, her dresser, anything she could grab. The 3 boys were across the hall and were suppose to be quieting down and going to sleep, but it would have been impossible.

And it was all Imani's fault; if you listen to Akila. She was furious with her sister, who had done nothing. She was yelling horrific things, like "I'm going to go down and kill her after you go to sleep", and other violent things. It is so hard to listen to that. When she is like this, it does no good to respond to her, or to try to reason with her. She is completely out of whack. But she sucks me in. All I can say, is that it was a long hour and a half.

I did have Imani and Izzy come up to Imani's room to sleep, and had Akila calmed down enough to go to the family room to sleep with Abbey. Abbey even mentioned that this is the worst she has ever seen Akila. Not a fun way to end a day, but I am really proud of Akila despite the bad ending. She was amazingly good for over 12 hours, and that may be a record she has set. I basically set her up, and this is why we do not do sleepovers very often. I usually try to do them when Imani is gone on a sleepover somewhere else. It is a tight rope we walk around this house.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sleep Overs

It is the long MEA weekend. I'm not ready for it. I have no choice. We have two extra boys tonight for a sleepover, my nephew Isaiah, and Hezekiah's friend Noah. Lots of screaming for a bunch of boys, I'll tell you that!! Akila is in hyper-overdrive. I have her in her room watching a movie on the mini DVD player right now, as I'm trying to get them all to calm down, especially her.

Tomorrow night, Akila will have a friend sleep over and hopefully Imani will also. I will be completely worn out by Friday. Why do I do this to myself? I do not know. I loved sleep overs when I was little, I practically had one every weekend, seriously!!! But I was like an only child, my brothers were 7 and 14 years older than I, so my parents were glad to have someone for me to play with. I find sleepovers to be tiring, and very difficult with the Akila dynamic.

But wow the kids love them. And I was able to get the boys to clean the family room and their bedroom this afternoon with no whining. That is nice.

Thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday. I had a nice day and my memory is acting 40. I forgot to give Akila her meds this morning. I won't forget tomorrow (especially since she will be home all day).

Monday, October 13, 2008

You're all invited

It is less than two weeks until the fundraiser for my friend Bernard's children. I am going to put the information here in case any of you can make it. Thanks to all of you who have donated items for the silent auction!!

Join friends and colleagues of
Bernard Gill


for an evening of
~ music, the arts, entertainment, and a silent auction ~
(suggested donation at the door: $10)

Saturday, October 25
5:00 – 10:00 p.m.

TIES Building, Grand Hall
1667 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN
(on the southwest corner of Larpenteur and Snelling,
just north of the state fairgrounds)

When longtime NYLC staff member Bernard Gill died last April, his four
children were left with a strong legacy of Bernard’s devoted fathering,
community spirit, and endless humor. Because Bernard wife died of breast cancer
in 1998, the children are in a particularly challenging situation.

Please consider joining colleagues and friends of Bernard’s for this
special event.
All are welcome to stop by and bid on a silent auction item, or stay and
listen to local artists. Food will be served with all proceeds going the
Bernard Gill Children's Fund.

• For more information, see www.nylc.org/gillfundraiser
• Help spread the word by linking to the Facebook cause at
http://apps.new.facebook.com/causes/posts/62816?m=36454

Water Fountain

Yesterday, we celebrated my birthday which is actually tomorrow. I am not like my friend Juli who won't tell anybody how old she is (she is 39), I have no issues with my age, yet. But I will be 40 tomorrow, and other than how weird it sounds, I'm OK with it.

I was craving my favorite salad which is at Tony Roma's and their only location now-a-days is the Mall of America. Good thing I love rides and Nickelodeon Universe has some great new ones. We ate, rode a few rides, played in Lego Land and had a pretty good time. The kids were good, Akila wasn't too bad, even with me forgetting to give her meds before we left (maybe 40 is going to be painful).

We got ice cream for dessert and were sitting on some benches eating it. There was a water fountain and we gave each kid a penny to put in it. Then as we were leaving shortly after that, we realized that Akila had a handful of coins and hat taken them out of the fountain. Michael was furious, I had a hard time not laughing. I was annoyed with the two of us for not keeping our eyes on her enough. Imani ran the coins back and put them in their place.

The truth is, we have had two weeks of really good behavior from Akila. What is funny when I say this, is that it is still not what most families would call good, or normal. Far from it. But the rages have been short, and the struggles have been fewer. There has been more cooperation on simple things that are usually a struggle. Getting dressed in the morning, taking meds, going to bed, eating meals. She asked for gum last night and I said no and she said OK. That is very unusual. There had been several other times over the weekend she had asked for gum and I said no and she kind of freaked out. It is rare when she does not freak out when told no.

We have still had unusual behavior that is not age appropriate. Like when we went to the park on Saturday, and I watched her go behind a tree and realized she had her pants off. I was about to walk over there when I saw her shaking the pants off. As I was walking over there, I could see that she also had her underwear off, and was shaking them off. She then put it all back on as I was approaching. She had gotten sand in them and couldn't stand it. I talked to her about other options, like asking me for help so we could make sure she was more hidden when shedding her clothes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Miss Manners

Little Akila thinks that she is Miss Manners. I can't even count how many times lately she has gotten enraged over one of her sisters chewing too loudly, or not covering a sneeze. It is getting totally annoying.

This morning, she was obsessively yelling at Imani for chewing with her mouth open, as it was too loud. She was perseverating on this fact. She has done this many times in the van if any of the kids are eating something, and did it at the dinner table last night. It is driving me nuts. Sometimes she actually has a point, but get real!!! Then what happens, is whatever kid she is hassling about their chewing or coughing or whatever it is, starts to try not to chew with their mouth closed so she doesn't win. I can't even blame them.

This is coming from the girl, who when she sneezes and has a snag of snot hanging out of her nose, runs around the house until everyone has seen it. This from the little girl who obsessively picks any bump, cut or minor owie on her skin, until it bleeds and shows everyone. This from the girl who loves to open her mouth and show the food off that she is chewing. The girl who loves to have food dripping down the side of her mouth and shows everyone. Yet, if her fork touches the dining room table, it is contaminated and she needs a new one. It is hard to keep track of what manners she is interested in from one minute to another. But the chewing with the open mouth is one she is currently obsessed with.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Band

Akila brought home a flyer from school about playing an instrument in the band. We are suppose to work with her to choose an instrument and turn the form in. She is really excited about playing in the band, but there is no way it would work out, for so many reasons.

We tried her in piano a few years ago, and we only tried it for one quarter. She would never practice, it was a horrible struggle to get her to practice and since it is more important to focus on homework if we want to struggle, we chose homework. Plus, with her dyspraxia, she struggled with the piano. Her fingers would lock up and I would try to spread them out on the piano keys and she just couldn't get them to do what she wanted them to do. Which would really frustrate her and insight a rage, even when I was being a super calm mom.

So this morning, she unfortunately remembered the form just as she was leaving for school. I told her that dad and I wanted her to focus on dance instead of band since she was such a talented dancer. She was quite mad, but did not go into rage mode. Praise the Lord!!!

Last night was her dance class, which is 2 hours now that she is in 4th grade. She has been handling this really well and last night I let her stay for the danceline class also. Three straight hours of dance and she did great. She really does have a gift in the area of dance. Praise the Lord again!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Working Hard

Above is Hezekiah helping me demolish our bathroom, do you like his spy glasses-we needed some protective eyeware and this is all we could find. Below Akila is helping daddy bundle some branches


Above, Zeke is making a PBJ on the floor, very sanitary. Below, he is working on homework, which he is obsessed with.

Above, Imani is mowing the lawn
Above, Akila is helping to trim the rose bushes, notice how they go along the wall and are pretty thick. I had to leave to bring Zeke to a bday party, and told Akila if she finished the roses, I would pay her a dollar. Below if how they were when I returned, she did them perfectly.


Above, Imani and Hezekiah are on a little part of our roof cleaning the gutter. Imagine the beating of my heart when I came around the house and saw them up there. I told Michael that I should call child protection on him. Yes, he has them vacuuming the gutters, that's my man!! Someday I will get a picture of him vacuuming the lawn mower.

We had a pretty good Saturday, spent the majority of the day in manual labor and the kids did a pretty good job. Zeke didn't get his hands too dirty though, he was at a birthday party for most of the afternoon. He has been really fun with homework. He is obsessed with it and wants to do it every night. He gets one sheet a week of homework. I bought him a kindergarten math workbook, and the first night, he finished 42 pages, slept with the book, worked in it in the morning and wanted to bring it to school. I said no. He came home from school and completed the entire book.

I told Hezekiah's teacher when we were chatting, and she sent him some homework on two different days last week and he completed each packet each night. I hope he is always this excited, none of my other kids are or ever were as excited as he is.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oh Yeah

Oh yeah, I forgot to blog that Thursday did not go as smoothly after school as the rest of the week had. We had a few rages, but nothing to write home about (or in the blog about). So the really excellent behavior streak ended, but she still has not been too bad. And for that, I am thankful.

Today, other than the previous post when I wrote about her creative photography, she was pretty good. We were doing a lot of physical labor, I'll try to post some pictures this week of our hard working day. Right now, I can feel my heart beating in my shoulder, an indication of the toll the physical labor is taking on me. I am almost 40 after all(10 days to go).

Two freaky things

When I woke up this morning, I came out of my room to hear Hezekiah at the top of the stairs mumbling to himself, he sounded angry. I asked what was up and this is what her mumbled; "Dumb Akila. She is so stupid. She stole my camera and took pictures of her vagina." What a way to start the day, good morning mommy!!

He was very mad, not grossed out, or freaked out like i was, just plain mad. Thankfully, he had deleted the pictures already. This is on his playschool digital camera, which is a totally awesome camera for kids. Unless they're using it for porn, probably not so good. He is usually very careful at keeping it out of her sight, as she is always interested in this camera when she sees it. He and I found a good hiding place for it.

Later in the day, Akila went to the hardware store with me. On the way home, we passed a bus and she was reading the front electronic sign thingie that says what its route is. It said Mall of America and she freaked out with excitement. Not what I need. It is times like these, when I wish she couldn't read. Now she knows that a bus a couple of blocks from our house goes all the way to the Mall of America. I'm screwed.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Good week, so far

I see this in so many of our blogs; we have had a good week, but I feel like I should knock on wood. Akila has had 3 really good days in a row, and also had a great morning. I absolutely love it! It is so funny, as I could sit back and experience what it is like to have a family where there are not constant meltdowns, and issues, but instead, I am walking on egg shells trying to do everything I can to make it last as long as possible. It is like I'm desperate. But after a long stretch of "crappy" behavior, you do get desperate.

I know it won't last much longer, and for those of you who think I'm being a pessimist and should expect it to last forever, I say "Get a life!" That is not how it works in the world of FASD. Sure, God could provide a miracle, and I pray for help and guidance daily, but I am also realistic. I have also accepted Akila and her brain. I am quite thankful for these 3 1/2 good days, and I'm going to ride them out as long as I can. There is no school tomorrow, that will be the test. We will stay active and get out of the house a lot. Keep your fingers crossed!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Smart Move Mom, Finally!

I am very proud of myself tonight. Akila had a really good morning, no issues, no rages, no name-calling, it was a rare morning. Akila started playing with a few of her dolls yesterday and she really gets into this sometimes. The dolls are real and we all have to treat them accordingly or she will go nuts.

So, as she was leaving, she was handing me her doll to care for during the day. When she does this, I have to be very careful to handle the doll with care or I get yelled at to support her neck, etc. I was very loving to the doll. Akila told me where to set her down after she left. She asked if I was going anywhere and I said I was going grocery shopping. She asked me to take the doll with, but to be sure to use her car seat. I assured her that I would.

During the day, I came across a bib and brought it and put it on the doll. When Akila got home, she noticed immediately. I told her that when I was feeding her she was getting messy so I put a bib on her. She loved it. She was so proud of me and so thankful that I took good care of her baby. She then went in the basement, got the real high chair out, and played really nicely with dolls for quite awhile. I came into the kitchen and found her running the microwave. She had a bottle with water that she was warming up for the baby. She had even taken the nipple off.

Makes me think that she might be able to be a good mom some day. Well, that is until the child started to talk and assert their will. She would then explode and lose her temper. Worse than I do. But I didn't have to today. Today was a good day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Benefit for Bernard's Kids

Some of you may remember my post from April when my friend Bernard died. I went to a meeting at the NYLC where I use to work yesterday, to help plan a fundraiser for Bernard's four kids. I wanted to put a little bit of information here for those of you who are local and could possibly attend. Please attend, whether you knew him or not. I would love to see you all.

It will be on Saturday, October 25 from 5-10 pm in St. Paul by the State Fairgrounds. There is going to be various musical entertainment and a variety of food offered, mainly desserts and appetizers. The suggested donation for entry will be $10, and the food will be for sale as well. More info to come on the details.

Bernard's oldest child, Geoffrey is 20 years old and a sophomore at Augsburg College. He has moved back home and is taking guardianship of two of his sisters who are in 8th and 10th grade. His other sister is 18 and a freshman at the University of Minnesota. I met last night with Geoffrey, and am amazed at all that he has had to take on. We met at 9:30, after he had gotten home from his 10th grade sister's volleyball game. He is having to work with a lawyer to get the kids names on the title of the house, having to turn in his dad's vehicle next month which is leased, trying to buy a car this weekend, trying to provide healthy meals, and the list goes on. I can't imagine having to do all of this at the age of 20, he just turned 20.





I am organizing a group of people who will be delivering groceries/meals to the kids on a regular basis as well. If you're interested in helping with this, email me. If you'd like to attend the fundraiser, email me as well.

Journal Entry


I am still in a deep cleaning mode, have been for 4 weeks now, you would think my house would be spotless. I was cleaning out our family room where all the toys are yesterday. It took all day. I found a notebook with the above entry from Akila. I crossed out the boys name.
-
It makes me sad. You might think that it makes me sad because she wants to have a baby so much when she grows up and more than likely won't be able to due to her Turner Syndrome. No, I feel like this is a blessing, she should never have children. That does make me sad I guess, but I know it would not be good for her or for a child for her to be parenting.
-
Obviously it makes me sad how obsessed she is with sex. Many parents or professionals would say that it is normal to have an entry like this, that kids are curious at this age about sex and all that gobbley gook. It is not normal, I guarantee it. If this was an isolated incident, or something that rarely happens and I could use it as a spring board for a deep discussion, that would be more normal. No, trust me, Akila has a very unhealthy obsession with sex. And it is going to break my heart over and over for the rest of my life. This I know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working Together



On Saturday, Michael took Imani, Zeke and Hezekiah to the Farmer's Market and on a bunch of errands. Akila and I put together a dresser for her room that I bought at Ikea. It was so much fun, which is something I never thought I would say after putting something together from Ikea (what a pain!).

Akila loved putting it together, using the tools, reading the directions (which are all pictures), and working with mom. She was on a high and so was I. It probably took 2 hours to do, and she and I were both patient and pleasant. About half way through, as I was revelling in how well it was going, I realized that I was benefiting partly from her prime time after she has taken her meds, but hey, I'll take it.

We were trying to find a neighbor who could come and take a picture of us working together, but had no luck. So I took several pictures of her and she took some of me (which I will not post), and it was a pretty good day. We had a pretty good weekend, which ended with her getting her hair braided by an old student of mine. She loves to get her hair done, and is usually pretty good on these days, thank goodness.

I can't handle 5 minutes

Wow, the entire morning is going fine, and then the last 5 minutes as we get ready to go to the bus stop, everything melts down and I am completely annoyed. Akila was pretty good all morning, then as the kids are putting on shoes and coats, we had an issue.

She wanted to wear a pair of high heel shoes that the girls use to play with dress up. They are real shoes, not the little girl fake high heels. I tell her that she needs to wear her tennis shoes and she immediately looses it. Starts kicking and name calling. I tell her that she can wear them to dance class tonight, but can't wear shoes like this to school. Well no matter, she is totally gone and replaced with a manic Akila.

I manage to get her tennis shoes on her, but it wasn't pretty. She called me every name in the book and as she was going out the door, she slammed the screen door intentionally against the railing, kicked the door quite hard, while calling names. I followed her (in a non-intimidating manner) out the door and she threw her book bag at me. I picked it up and followed her to the bus stop, all the while being called names. I calmly told her she would have a consequence when she got home for this poor behavior, which made her spew more hateful language.

The bus came, I almost kissed the bus driver. I am now going to spend some time in the Word and pray for peace and that the Lord would help me to not let 5 minutes ruin my day. I don't think it will.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Background

Hey, I'm getting fancy, don't you think!!! Thanks to Linda who inspired me!

After school fun

Well, I should have knocked on wood or something from my post earlier today. Akila did not come home on the bus today. I wonder why I get migraines.

The 3 kids came running off the bus to tell me that Akila did not ride it home. My kids go to a school in downtown Minneapolis which buses kids from all over Minneapolis, and 10 west metro suburbs. Fun. I went inside and called the school to see if they could help me track her down. While on hold as they were calling the bus company, my other line rang and it was a cell phone number. I answered it and it was Akila at a girls house over in South Mpls, we live North. Her mom got on the phone and told me her address.

We were going to dance after school today, but Michael was home early so I left the other three with him, went and got Akila and went straight to dance. I can't tell you how mad I was. I couldn't even talk to her about it as we were driving to dance I was so mad. She knew it too. After dance, Michael talked with her, gave her the punishment that she cannot leave our yard for the next week, and if she does, we will take away her beloved bear for two days so she can understand how sad and scared we were without her when she did not come home after school. Way to go dad, a pretty good consequence I thought. With one of my other kids, I think they might make the connection, not sure Akila will, but still a good one.

The challenge to it, is that she is obsessed with this bear and has a horrific time winding down and going to bed without it. And I can practically guarantee that she will leave our yard in the next week, not intentionally, but will forget that this is her punishment. I will work really hard to remind her of this rule for the next week, I don't want her to lose the bear.

A funny note, as I was eating some crackers tonight, I couldn't figure out why my tongue seemed like I had burned it on coffee or soup. I was trying to think of what I had consumed in the last day or so that would have burnt my tongue. Then I started laughing when I remembered the cayenne pepper I consumed this morning in an attempt to get rid of my migraine. I am feeling better, but am really praying that it will be totally gone tomorrow, just in time for my dentist appt. I am glad this day is almost over.

Turned Down the Perfect Job

I forgot to write about a job that I still can't believe I turned down. I use to work with a guy named Peter who I have remained friends with and loved working with. We worked together in the Bloomington Schools and also when he directed Camp Icaghowan, a YMCA camp that I use to use for some of my youth programs. He now works at a charter high school in Coon Rapids as a teacher.

He called me the first week of school wondering if I might want to work there 4 afternoons a week doing youth development kind of stuff with the students. I went last week and met with the Director, Peter's friend whom I have met before and like. I told him I didn't want to work 4 days a week as I am trying to re-energize, get organized and do a million other things now that all 4 of my kids are in school. He said two days a week would be fine, he would be totally flexible, it sounded perfect. I love the school, I know and like at least 4 staff already, it is a school year schedule, everything I needed. I would have plenty of time to get home in time for the kids, it would just be 11:30-2 twice a week, more if I wanted.

I thought about it for a week, went back and forth, thought I was going to accept and then realized the timing just is not right. I have been too excited about having some time to get organized, time to clean, time to cook, time to try to be more creative in my approaches to Akila, etc. I think if this opportunity came up next school year, or even in January, after I have had some time, the decision would have been much easier.

I just can't believe I turned it down. It was a perfect fit. Just not the perfect time.

Migraine Mania

I am on day two of a migraine. Ugh. I have gotten these stinkers for years, and a little over a year ago they started to sometimes last over a day. It use to be that I would wake up with a migraine, a few hours later start vomiting, empty my stomach out, sleep an hour or two and then it would be gone, usually by dinner (sometimes if they started in the afternoon, they would be gone by bedtime). Now, they sometimes last more than a day.

I have not been able to get rid of this one, I am getting close and it is gone enough that I can use the computer. After the kids left for school, which was not fun, I drank some water with a couple teaspoons full of cayenne pepper and laid down. I read on the Internet that this can trick your brain into sending something or other for the pain, or something like that. It actually seemed to help and the majority of the pain went away, it is just kind of in the back of my head now. I then went to the health club, sat in the hot tub and took a shower. That helped as well.

Thankfully, last night is when Angie was taking Akila out for their bi-weekly outing. My other three went to my friend DeDe's and I was very relieved.

Then there was this morning. What is amazing to me, is that the majority of the morning can go very well, and then the last 10 minutes are when we hit meltdown phase. When it was time to go to the bus, Akila comes downstairs with her old backpack full of stuff. When I asked her what was in it, she said with great attitude, "none of your beeswax." My first instinct was to smack her across the face, which I of course did not do, but the migraine was making it harder to resist, honestly. As I was trying to check out what was in her backpack, she ran to the family room door and kicked it. This is a french door like we have on our bedroom door, the one that she kicked and broke the glass on when we were on vacation. Thankfully, it did not break, but it made me break. I started yelling and lost it.

Long story short, I finally got her off to the bus stop. I followed slowly behind and when I rounded the corner, I witnessed her kicking her sister Imani a couple of times. She was in a bad mode. She also told me she was going home with Abbey to live with her. I wanted to say that would be fine by me. But I did not.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Running Away

Today was the tenth day of school, not that I'm counting down to summer! But Akila has a new thing this year she is trying out. She comes home every day wanting to know where we are going. And most of the time the answer is no where, and she does not like this answer. She especially did not like this answer today, so she decided she was going to run away. I have a hard time knowing how to respond to this one. She doesn't do it too often, I would say every few months, usually.

She packed up her bag, got her dolls, needed a target bag for her winter coat in case she got cold (who said FASD kids can't plan ahead?) and was ready to go. I told her I didn't want her to go and that I would miss her too much. She left. I watched her from a hidden window, as she rounded the corner into North Mpls. I sighed. I followed her to the corner behind our block, which is not a place she should be alone. She did not want to come back home, or so she said. I actually did have a hard time getting her home.

The entire way home, which we had to stop many times to talk and fuss, I heard about how she hated our family, didn't want to be in our family any more, because I always say no. And she never gets to go anywhere (so not true). As we were getting close to our house, she decided she wanted to live with someone else on our block. I said good luck finding someone. She came in the house and wanted to change her name. I asked her what name she would choose. She said Kiera. I said that was a pretty name and asked her if she would write it down for me so I could see how it was spelled. Then I asked her if she would write it on her homework sheet and turn it into a creative writing assignment. I asked her to write what type of a family she would like to live in and how she was feeling. It worked for a few minutes of distraction, then she came right back to wanting to leave.

And she wanted to change her name officially. I told her it was too expensive and she would have to wait until she was an adult and could pay for it on her own. She decided she wanted to move in with the family next door, and started to perseverate on this fact. She couldn't wait until Ms. Pat would return home so we could ask if Akila could move in. It was fun. When Ms. Pat did come home, I called and explained Akila's new idea (Ms. Pat is a single mom of 4 adopted kids, one with FAS), she said that Akila could come over and play with Maria, her daughter who is about Akila's age. God bless her. This helped and got Akila out of her goofy mood.

I had to explain to Akila that Ms. Pat said she couldn't move in, but could come and play for a little. She was fine with it. We will see what she does tomorrow, I have a feeling she may try to be on the run a lot. I think we may need to install some kind of alarm notification system for the doors soon, I can't be watching the doors at all times. But the kids come and go out of the doors on nice days. Oh what fun lies ahead, I hate to think about it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

3:15, 3:30, 3:45, etc.

Akila got up at 3:15 this morning, and never went back to bed. I'm tired. The kids are tired. Michael is tired. It is amazing how one child can affect the entire family. She has been sleeping pretty well since we switched her off of the Dexedrine to Ritalin. This was happening fairly regularly last spring before the switch.

I knew this was coming. Out of the blue, last night at bedtime, she announced that if she woke up in the middle of the night, she was going to come down to the family room to play. I said no, that would not work, and that if she woke up, to lay in bed until she fell back asleep. She argued with me and started to rage, and that was that. So 3:15, she comes sauntering into my room wide awake. There is no putting her back to bed when this happens, believe me, I have tried.

If I make her go to her room, I am guaranteed to have all 4 kids awake in less than 30 minutes. I have even tried during several of these occasions, to lie down with her in her room, or have her come into our bed (which I hate doing). Doesn't work. So, she came to the family room, and woke me up all night, or should I say morning?, about every 15 minutes with things like this:
  • There is a giant centipede with a pointy back
  • Will you make me some pancakes
  • Is it a school day?
  • Do you know where the DVD remote is?
  • It is raining (she woke up before the rain and thunder started)
  • Is it a school day? (again)
  • Can you come help me?
  • I need a band-aid ( which she can get herself at anytime)

I think around 6:30, is when she woke up the other 3 kids for sure. It sounds like she had tried a few times before that. When I got up, they were all 4 in Akila's room watching a movie on the mini DVD player (which Akila had gotten out of our room while we slept). She also had my cell phone, and had been in my purse and gotten gum. Lovely.

It was not a very fun morning, and I tried to be patient. Hezekiah spilled his juice all over in the dining room and I didn't react very well. I didn't yell psychotically like I wanted to do, I just chastised him for not telling me right away. This is my pet peeve, when they spill, and don't react quickly to turn the glass back over, run for a towel, or at the very least yell for mom.

I am going to school this morning to meet with Akila's new teacher to give her some more info about Akila. She has been really good so far which is typical. She is taking it all in, the newness of a new classroom. Thankfully, she has never been her worst at school though, she saves the rages and really out of control behavior for home, which is how I should want it to be, but I really don't. Obviously, I don't want her to be out of control at all. Afterschool has been challenging already, I'm counting down until the afterschool brochure comes out; I may have to ask about that today (and then come home and take a nap).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homework Blues

So, after 5 days of school, I am fed up with homework- and we hardly have any. I am of course talking about homework with Akila. In her first homework packet, which came home on Friday, there is just a list of spelling words, and a reading log in which she has to write about her reading twice a week. I sat down with her to do this on Sunday, and it was not fun.

Monday night was even worse. During dinner, I told her we were going to do homework after we finished cleaning up dinner, and told her she could have some time to play first. Michael did homework with Imani and Hezekiah first, as it does not work to have Akila working on homework at the same time as the other kids.

I came down to get her when it was her turn, and she started to rage. We went round and round awhile. I explained to her that if she didn't sit down to do homework with me, that she would have to go to her room for the rest of the night. This enraged her even more. I told her she could choose a book to read, she could read it to me, or not, I would sit with her, I would read my own book, etc. Nothing was appealing to her. She just sat or stood there and threw stuff and called me names. I remained really calm, on the outside.

After much monkey business, she finally sat down with a book, at least 30 minutes after this fiasco started. Then, she wasn't really reading, but just flipping through the pages. We also have issues over where she would like to do her homework. Our dining room table is not the most ideal, the table is a bit shaky, no matter how much we have tried to stabilize it. I have been begging for a new table for awhile now, maybe for my 40th birthday coming up next month. Or not. Akila has a desk in her bedroom, she doesn't like doing it in there either. I sometimes make a homemade desk with a stool and a little chair we have, and put it in whatever room is interesting to her. The things I do for her, sometimes drive me nuts. I fell like I'm always having to bend over backwards, because I guess I am. Ridiculous.

Anyway, she sometimes likes to do it on the couch or on my bed with a clip board. Last night we were on the couch with a clip board. When it was time to write the name and author of the book on her sheet, she flipped out, saying that the paper hurts her arm.?? What?? I tried to have her explain this to me, and she just got furious, name calling and yelling. I suggested we sit at the table, desk or something else. This made her mad. Then I suggested that she wear her sweatshirt so the paper would not touch her arm, and she yelled, "Duh, that's what I was saying". She said nothing close to that, but OK, now we're getting somewhere. She gets her coat on and starts to write with a serious attitude.

She now needs to flip the paper over, to write about what she just read. I tell her, "Turn the sheet over please.", and she starts to freak out. She begins to yell and goes nuts, saying that she is going to get a paper cut, and she is genuinely freaked out to get a paper cut. I then tell her to rethink how she could politely ask for help. She does so, with an attitude. I eventually flip the sheet over, the paper is maybe within 6 inches of her as I flip it over, and she practically falls off of the couch while angrily yelling at me that I almost gave her a paper cut. It was not even close. I was trying really hard not to laugh, and she could see that and got really mad at me.

It was not fun, I don't think we are going to be able to do homework very much this year. Michael and I were talking about it later that night, and she definitely is not capable of doing very much of it on a school night. Last year, I was about to talk with her teacher to say that we wouldn't be able to do homework anymore, and that is when we started her on medication. We were able to do the homework for the most part, but only on the weekends right after she had taken her meds. We would do her entire homework packet on Saturdays.

The other challenge with it, is that her comprehension skills are low and writing about something she has just read, is difficult. When they do the neuro-psychological testing with her, one of the tests is reading a short paragraph to her and then having her answer questions about it. She always would do very poorly at this. She could only answer the questions when prodded and given verbal clues. This from the girl who can remember the exact spot that she had an owie when she was 2 years old.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nice Message for Mom

I guess I'm going to do 3 posts a day now, trying to catch up. This is a quick one. I have spent the last few days deep cleaning the kids bedrooms. I did Akila's room on Tuesday, the boys yesterday and Imani's today. Imani has a chalk board in her room that all the kids like to write on from time to time. Today, I found this message from Akila:


If you can't read it, it says " I want to go to stay at my birth mom's. Akila". I know that I will probably be hearing a lot of these kind of lines from her in the upcoming years. I'm sure she wrote it last week one day when she was furious with me and was saying that over and over. Then she came downstairs and wanted to do enough chores to earn $600. I had told her a long while ago that plane tickets cost at least $600. Pretty sure she had some plans. She of course didn't do enough chores to earn fifty cents, but she got a little bit done.

Zeke's First Day of Kindergarten

Last night, while we were eating supper, Zeke asked if they could go to bed right after dinner so kindergarten day would get here sooner. I thought it was a great idea, but none of the other kids did. He was super excited for school to start today. I forgot to give the boys their asthma meds and I went in their room to give it to them, less than 5 minutes after I tucked them in, and he was sleeping already. What a cutie.


He got up this morning, and was ready to go in 5 minutes. I drove the kids to school so I could see Zeke and wow, I can't explain how adorable he was. He by far was my most excited kid to start kindergarten. None of my 4 kids were nervous, scared or apprehensive on their first day (or any others). None of them clung to me or cried. But none of them were as excited as Zeke. What a doll!!! That is what I always call him, he doesn't like it. Here are a few pictures of him.





Did I mention that I think this was the most excited I was to have a kid start kindergarten? I got my first ever pedicure, and a haircut today, and I didn't have to pay a babysitter. Wahoo!!